Which Automaker Is The Safety Leader? Why Subaru Just Lost To Volvo
Does Subaru make the safest cars? This year, Subaru, Hyundai, and Volvo tied with nine models in their lineup with top safety scores for 2021 from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The 2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Outback, 2021 Crosstrek Hybrid, 2021 Ascent, and 2021 Legacy earn the highest Top Safety Pick+ award.
But the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, Impreza, and WRX earn Top Safety Pick awards and not the Top Safety Pick+ designation. Keep reading, and we will explain why. With the new Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 electric vehicle earning a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS, the automaker is the only car brand to achieve 2021 TSP+ awards across its entire product lineup.
photo credit: Budds Subaru
Subaru has the safest cars along with Volvo when they come equipped with the brand's EyeSight driver-assist safety technology. To qualify for a Top Safety Pick+ award, vehicles must have "good" ratings in all six of the institute's crashworthiness tests. Vehicles also must have front-crash prevention that the institute considers "advanced" or "superior."
The 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek Hybrid, Ascent, and Legacy all come standard with EyeSight and get the highest safety scores. The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, Impreza, and WRX meet these requirements when equipped with Subaru's Eyesight safety technology. But not all trims qualify.
The Crosstrek, Impreza, and WRX all come standard with a manual transmission, and Subaru's EyeSight driver assist technology is not compatible with the manual gearbox. The Crosstrek, Impreza, and WRX without EyeSight don't get the highest scores and can't be included with the CVT transmission models.
Another category where the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, Impreza, and WRX fall short is in their headlights. The Top Safety Pick+ is only awarded to models that meet all the requirements and must have "good" or "acceptable" headlights across all trim levels and packages. Because not all trims have the best LED headlights, Crosstrek, Impreza, and WRX fall short.
photo credit: Budds Subaru
Subaru wants its top-selling vehicles to be Top Safety Pick+ award winners, and its Crosstrek and Impreza models with a manual transmission will be dropped soon. Subaru will keep the manual gearbox in the WRX, WRX STI, and BRZ sports cars.
Subaru will also improve its headlights and offer the best LED projector headlights across all trim levels and packages soon. When Subaru makes these two changes, they will have nine models with Top Safety Pick+ awards.
Volvo is now the safety leader and the only automaker to achieve 2021 TSP+ awards across its entire vehicle lineup. Subaru has five models, the 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek Hybrid, Ascent, and Legacy, that earn the highest Top Safety Pick+ award. For Subaru to keep up with Volvo, the automaker will have to drop the manual gearbox in all models.
Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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Photo credit: Subaru